One of the goals in my happiness project targets for January is to get some fresh air everyday. I work from home a lot and it’s amazing how easy it is for a day, or even two, to pass by without me having to set foot outdoors. The motivation behind this specific target came from a sensation I noticed a couple of months ago whilst out walking. After about twenty minutes or so, I felt my shoulders drop and my entire body relax, as if letting out a corporeal sigh. The feeling was so heavenly that I didn’t dare hope to experience it again, but sure enough it happened next time I walked for that length of time too. The knock-on effects of this feeling must be good, I concluded. And yes, I’ve had the same sensation when out getting my daily dose of fresh air during this last week too. Furthermore, I’ve noticed another positive side-effect: gratitude. In particular, thankfulness for the richness and variety of my life – something that I am mentally aware of, but don’t always truly appreciate. Consciously endeavouring to go outside has focused my attention on this because the sights I’ve seen on each sojourn have been so different. Last week, I developed a newfound fondness for two parks near to where I live. So far this week, I’ve been up and over Waterloo Bridge, through Covent Garden and into Bloomsbury (all at dusk – the best time of all) and along some quiet lanes and a canal towpath in rural Surrey, with the added joy of watching little children excitedly on their way home from school.
Gratitude is, fortutiously, a major contributor towards happiness. So the project seems to be working, albeit not always in the ways that I was expecting.